Linda Salisbury loves a good adventure. Whether she's playing the cello with the Rappahannock Pops or taking in the leisurely beauty of Lake Anna and going on many a boat ride with her husband up and down Contrary Creek, this Mineral resident has never been one to let life pass her by. But even more than the lure of water and music, Linda Salisbury has always found herself struck by words and books. Now, with two award-winners and four titles under her belt, Salisbury has moved on to the newest adventure in her life by releasing the first book in a series for intermediate readers, which is, not surprisingly, a series geared for adventure. To say that Salisbury now has a loyal following of young readers waiting impatiently for the second book to arrive in the nearest bookstore would be an understatement. When Salisbury started writing her adventures involving the eleven-year-old heroine, Bailey Fish, she knew the best way to make her book an instant success was to reach out to all students, even those who would normally shy away at the thought of reading. The result? Salisbury has entrapped even the most reluctant of readers with The Wild Women of Lake Anna: A Bailey Fish Adventure.
But it's more than her sense of adventure that has intrigued both young readers and the young of heart. It also helps that Salisbury knows her audience inside and out. Although she wanted Bailey Fish to go on an adventure and try to solve a mystery, she also knew that the best way to lure in her audience was to keep the adventure within the realms of what an eleven-year-old could accomplish. And one of Salisbury's biggest strengths is her ability to make Bailey Fish and her adventures believable, without sacrificing the level of mystery. In The Wild Women of Lake Anna, we are introduced to young Bailey Fish, whose single mother has just sent Bailey from Charlotte County, Florida, to live with her grandmother at Lake Anna. Through Bailey's move and her adjustment to living with her grandmother, Sugar, while her mom explores Costa Rica in hopes of improving her career, we are instantly introduced to an ordinary girl placed in a situation that Salisbury says isn't as uncommon as we think. When Salisbury lived in Florida while working for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, she was astonished by the number of children in her community who had been sent by parents to live with their grandparents. Using her own experience from raising her three children, being a foster parent and visiting with her grandchildren helped provide lots of insights into creating Bailey's character and her relationship with Sugar. Caring for foster children helped her, appreciate how hard it is for children to adjust to being placed in new situations. She used that information to build Bailey's initial resistance to sharing her feelings, despite her grandmother's affection.
In addition to her own experience with children, Salisbury decided to draw on a number of historical facts when creating this series. When Salisbury learned that there used to be gold mines in the area of Mineral, Virginia, she visited the Mineral Historical Society and asked for various pictures and maps of the area to use in her publication. Salisbury used that as a starting point in putting factual information in all her books. And, to tie the whole adventure together, Salisbury incorporated the concept of Bailey having "wild women" in her family; that is, women, who, like Salisbury, love a good adventure and will stop at nothing to find one.
With the No Sisters Sisters Club, the second book in the Bailey Fish adventure series coming out in October (2005) and an infinite amount of possibilities pouring in from eager readers with adventures they'd love for Bailey to explore in coming books, Salisbury has found herself meeting with fans and publicizing her series every chance she gets.
When Salisbury graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio with a B.A. in English, she didn't know then that she would go on to be a writer. Her experience has included reporting, editing and writing a column for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and then having her columns published in two different books, Good-bye Tomato, Hello Florida and Read My Lips: No New Pets!, the second of which won an award from National Association of Independent Publishers. And since then, Salisbury has broadened her success by winning a NAIP award for Smart Self-Publishing: An Author's Guide to Producing a Marketable Book, co-authored with her husband, Jim. In addition, Salisbury and her husband run a publishing company, which has published more than forty books and has packaged more than 200 for other authors and publishers. Salisbury says that polishing a work to prepare it for publication and then publicizing a published work are the most important pieces of advice she can give to any aspiring authors, who, all too often, feel that they are done working on a project as soon as the writing and creation of it are finished.
Linda Salisbury has come a long way since her days as an undergraduate English student at Oberlin College, and she wouldn't have been able to do it all if she didn't truly love a good adventure.